Diary of Angus Stewart aboard the Prince Edward bound for N.Z.

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From the collection of Carole Stewart, c-a-b@paradise.net.nz

Carole would be very interested in further family information.

The following is a diary kept by Angus Stewart
During his voyage to New Zealand on
the Prince Edward

Note: Angus was the second son of ‘Big’ Malcom Stewart (1808 – 1901) and Mary McPherson (1809 – 1889). His siblings were Mary (d. 9/12/1916), Ann, John, Christy, Charles, Donald and Alexander.

‘Big’ Malcom’s parents are said to have been Charles Stuart and Mary McMillan, who came to PEI from The Isle of Skye on The Polly.

Edited Version by Carole A Stewart: From the Diary of ANGUS STEWART, late of Kaiwaka and Mangawhai and Prince Edward Island.

December 1858

All sails made up on the double riff main and fore topsail ends It lasted for 2 hours, raining horrid gales puhiohons of rain (water). We are 700 miles from the Gulf of Cancer, from the line.

26th Sunday Fine warm day with some showers and then thunder.

27th Spied a barque in the morning and was quite handy in the evening bound on the course. The day being very rainy. In the evening, there were three sails in sight

28th The barque being quite handy in the morning and it sent a boat along side. Four sailors and the captain boarded us. She is an American vessel from Pensacola in Florida bound for Boneysarus in South America and is loaded with pitch pine. She has been out 63 days. They promised to report us to Prince Edward Island, as being 300 miles from the line.

Another strange thing: a land-bird boarded us this evening was caught on deck and in handling it, it flew over and got drowned.

The day has been very calm and showery.

29th Very warm and calm with heavy showers of rain. We made only 17 miles today and 12 yesterday.

30th Light breeze and dry, but very cloudy

31st Squally and very showery.

1st January 1859 A fine warm day with a light breeze and quite dry. Seen a school of porpoises, and the sea is full of different kinds of fish. We had a fine dinner and carrying on with all kinds of fun. The day and the night is the same length

2nd Very hot with a light breeze, but had a horrid squall about 11 o’clock last night, which nearly carried the top-masts out of the brig. She leaned over so far that the rail was all under the (? waves. the word is missing). The sailors and men passengers soon furled up the sails. It lasted 2 hours, running her course.

3rd A fine dry day with a light breeze. Steering south by west, close on the wind. We are being within 35 miles of Saint Paul Island. A school of porpoises was with us.

4th January 1859 We crossed the line about 10 o’clock in a fine breeze, close on the wind and steering south west. Our right course would be south by east. We harpooned 3 or 4 porpoises but they broke loose.

5th It is very warm with a light breeze. We saw a large barque in the morning to the windward of us, carrying a French flag and in the evening we saw a very large ship steering west. She carried a British flag

6th We have been on the other tack all night and two days, until 7 o’clock in the evening, steering east then north until we came within 1 degree of the line. The reason of us tacking, was to clear the Cape de Sào Roque (Brazil), the eastern part of South America, because of the south east trade wind being very much ahead. We saw a very large ship in the evening, home-wards bound. We had a very heavy squall with rain this evening and the top gallant sails furled up and the top sails clued down jib. It only lasted about 20 minutes and then all sail made again, close on the wind to clear the Cape.

7th We had a very strong south-east breeze and saw a very large ship on the lee-bow, home-wards bound.

8th In a very strong breeze we cleared the cape 27 miles to windward of Cape de Sào Roque (Brazil). After dark, the captain ordered the furling up of fore and main top gallant sails and to fly the jib on account of running too near the land. One of our sailors got terribly sick to-day on account of slipping on the deck. His name is (? Peter Heron).

9th Sunday morning. When I got up on deck, the land was quite close, within 3 miles of us. It put me in mind of Nova Scotia because it is hilly and mountainous. We have been beating all day long back and a short one. The wind has been blowing very fresh, and our fore top-gallant sail yard broke in four halves. We have seen 5 schooners and a ship and a barque.

10th A strong breeze and we have been beating all day, sometimes coming very close to land. We saw a brig steering north.

11th Beating all day, sometimes coming very close to land which looked very pretty with long tall trees. We could see fires burning here and there in the woods, as it used to in Prince Edward Island. We saw 5 sloops or what they call catamarans along the coast.

12th Beating all day with a nice breeze. We are seeing vessels and boats in every direction.

13th Beating the whole day, the wind being south-east. They call these what these the south-east trades. The current goes with the wind, 1 mile an hour.

14th Beating all day until we came to a town called Pernambuco (this is the old name for present-day Recife, Brazil) about dark. We anchored about a mile from the town.

15th We had a fine view at the town in the morning. The captain and doctor and owners went onshore in the morning to see the British Councillor to arrange for us to get some water and to allow some of the passengers to go ashore. A boatload of us went ashore in the evening, I being one of them. Before the boat came to the steps, a chap from Prince Edward Island called out to some of us by name and he knew many of us. His name was Tom Tailor from Charlottetown. He has been away 5 years and was ship wrecked on the coast of Brazil. About a month ago, he was on the (?word) of the American councillor.

16th Sunday in the morning. Before we got up, there were 2 low large lighters, one on each side of us, with 24 punchions of water and about 12 negroes in each. They were singing songs and quite merry, emptying their 5 casks into ours. Before 12 o’clock, they had them all emptied in to us, then they turned to their oars and went of with a cheerful song. Some of our passengers went ashore in the morning and went to an English church, where they had a good sermon. There are not many English people living here. It is to hot for them.

17th I went ashore in the morning and stopped there until evening. I had a good walk through a little of it. Permanbuco is a very large town and well situated to the open sea, with a fine harbour and very queer the way it is. It has a reef of rocks which makes from a point 1 mile and a half long and about a quarter of a mile from the land. There is a fine lighthouse at the end of the reef. It would contain thousands of vessels inside of that, with all safety.

The population of this town is over 100 thousand, so it must be pretty large. All the houses are built of stone and most of them 5 stories high. There are very narrow streets, between 15 and 20 feet wide. If I was to travel the whole day, I could hardly get a man to talk English with me. I bought a few oranges and cocoa-nuts. I saw the cocoa-nuts growing on the trees here in great bunches. They have very thin small horses and most of them are grey. There are no truck men here at all. I seen few often working with low wagons. But the most work is done by negroes. I saw them in scores running through the town with heavy loads on their heads and them all naked, except for an apron they had round their middle. Some of them were light-skinned.

18th The captain and the owners and some of the passengers went ashore in the morning to pay for the water, which cost them 23 pounds in Island money. They came aboard in the evening and we weighed anchor and made sail for the Cape of Good Hope. We have been from Friday evening until Tuesday evening at anchor about 5 miles off Pernambuco (present-day Recife, Brazil ). There are vessels here from all parts of world, every nation carrying its own flag.

19th No land in sight. We are going well and carrying studding sails.

20th A fine day with a breeze. We are steering south.

21st – 25th A fine fair wind. We are carrying studding sails and steering south east.

27th – 28th A fair wind and smooth water.

29th A vessel in sight. Steering south.

30th Sunday This morning we passed a fine large Spanish Ship homeward bound. She passed about half a dozen flags to speak to us, but we could not answer her because we only carried one. We were running at 8 knots an hour at the time, so we lost sight of in a short time.

31st A fair wind. Square yards and all sails set, running through it a great rate

1st February Very warm with a light breeze.

2nd A very stiff breeze. South-west running, between 9 and 10 knots an hour, steering east by south.

3rd A very heavy south wind and cold.

4th The wind being south-east, it is too much a head, had to stack ship, steering south-west.

5th Very calm.

6th – 8th A light breeze and we are steering south by east. The weather is fine and cool now. Until last night, we had had no rain since we crossed the line.

9th A fine day and pretty cool. We are steering south; the wind being right ahead for the Cape.

10th It is very calm. I had a fine sport in the evening, catching a shark. We had seen him going round and round the vessel and I went and got my line and hook and put a bit of pork on it. It was not long out before he got half of it and I pulled him quite easy along sides. Then some of them got the harpoon ready and threw it at him, which made him jump out of the water. The harpoon did not get a right hold of him and broke loose and he made right for the bottom. We spared him all the small line we had, and when he was pretty slack, we hauled him up again alongside and got a running hitch round his head and hauled him up on deck. He was only a small one: only measured 6 feet. We dressed him up in good style next day. Being Friday (for we had had no fish these three weeks ago) it was a great feast for the Catholics to get some fresh fish and they made very good dining of the shark.

11th A light breeze and quite fair steering east by south.

12th A fair wind and we are carrying studding sails going 9 ˝ knots an hour.

13th We have sailed 240 miles since 12 o’clock yesterday until 12 o’clock today, steering east.

14th A light breeze.

15th Steering east by north.

16th & 17th A head wind. We are beating with reefed topsails.

18th Quite calm. I caught an 8 feet long shark in the evening.

19th A light breeze from the west.

20th A light breeze.

21st We got the anchors over the bows and saw a large ship in the evening, homeward bound. Also in the evening it came on to blow very heavy from the south, which drove us 45 miles to the north.

22nd We saw land at 8 o’clock in the morning, 45 miles to the north of the Cape. Because the wind was blowing fresh from the south, we had to tack ship and laid on that tack until next morning.

23rd The wind shifted round to the north and was blowing pretty fresh. While steering for the Cape in the evening, it came on a heavy fog so that we could not see 100 yards ahead, and so we had to keep dodging off all night.

24th When the land came in sight it looked wonderful: high and mountainous. We had a fine, dry day with a fair breeze. We shot 2 birds and could not catch them. It got dark before we got into the town, and so we anchored in the bay called Simons Bay.

25th We beat up to the town and cast anchor within 200 yards off. We were boarded with lot of British officers. There are 3 large British man-o-wars here. One of them is 2800 tons and carries 700 men and 74 guns. We have seen an Island cap here on board of a man-o-war who knew most of us. He has been out in New Zealand last year, where he ran away off the vessel. He went out to the country, where he was hired as a pit sawyer for 6/- a day, but he only worked for 3 days before he was caught and taken aboard again.

26th All hands went ashore; back and forward, drinking wine like water. Wine is here for 6d a bottle. I and Margaret and a lot of us went up to a high mountain above the town. It is 2,800 feet high and it took us 5 hours to go up. It would astonish anyone that has never seen mountains, to see them. There are mountains here 4,000 feet high.

14th March 1859 We left the Cape of Good Hope today.

4th May 1859 We sighted New Zealand in the morning. It was first seen by Alexander McDonald. The first place seen was the three rocky islands of the Three Kings which stand 200ft high. The day was fine and dry with a light breeze. We been (67) days from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Maria van Dieman.

5th May We had a fine breeze along the coast and saw one schooner.

6th May Next morning we reached the Great Barrier Island in heavy squalls.

15th May Rented this house.

16th May went to look for land.

The following is a list attached to the end of the dairy:-

M. Blundell
Exchange Hotel
Worked at the punt.
1 day alone.
Myself and John Kemp, 2 days sawing.
1 day tiking round the timber.
1 day getting the timbers.
1 day dressing the boards – me and John Kemp.
2 days working at the punt.
3 – myself and Angus Matheson.



The long-looked-for brig Prince Edward, Captain Newlon, arrived in harbour on Thursday night, from Prince Edward Island, after a protracted passage of 162 days. She sailed from Charlotte Town on the 1st, and cleared the coast on the 4th December. She caught the North East Trade in 28 degrees North latitude; but they were very indifferent, and the South East Trade, though good, hung very far to the North.

Crossed the Equator on the 1st January, in longitude 31 degrees West, and put into Pernambucco on the 9th, remaining there five days. Experienced a continuance of calms in the horse latitudes; and went into Simon's Bay, Cape of Good Hope, on the 17th February, resting there for the next four and twenty days to refresh.

There were the Boscarwen line of battle ship, 70 guns, and five other English men-of-war in Simon's Bay, from whence four sail of Russian cruisers had but a short time previously taken their departure.

From the Cape to Van Dieman's Land, the passage was made in the short space of 31 days, Captain Nowlan running down his Easting between the parallels of 4O degrees and 43 degrees South latitude, carrying strong winds, and passing to the Southward of Tasmania, in a dense fog, and with a heavy gale.

From thence to the Three Kings, which was sighted on the 4th instant, the distance was performed in seven days, the vessel clearing ninety degrees of longitude in eighteen days.

There have been neither deaths nor births during the passage, and we are happy in being able to congratulate all hands on their arrival amongst us in a state of robust health. We are glad, further, to add that they are seemingly of a highly respectable class, such as cannot fail to be an acquisition to the Province, in which we wish them the utmost possible success.

The Prince Edward is a fine brig of 174 tons register, built at Prince Edward's Island, and but seven months off the stocks. She is owned by Messrs Morpeth, Hazzard and Millner, who have come out along with her; and considering the ports at which she called, and the loss of time incurred in going in and coming out, her maiden trip cannot but be considered a very creditable one.


To Mr Edward Nowlan, Captain of the Brig "Prince Edward", from Charlotte Town, Prince Edward Island, to Auckland, New Zealand

SIR,- We the undersigned,(the owners of, and passengers in, the brig "Prince Edward,") having now reached our destination, conceive we would be wanting in duty, and at the same time not acting justly towards you, were we to allow ourselves to separate without giving expression to the gratitude we feel for the great skill, carefulness, and attention as a navigator you have displayed throughout the whole passage from Charlotte Town, Prince Edward Island, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, British North America, to Auckland, New Zealand, a distance of. upwards of fourteen thousand miles.

The great kindness and attention to all, young and old, who have uniformly and invariably received at your hands, we can never forget, but ever gratefully remember.

Permit us, therefore, Sir, in all sincerity, to tender you our very sincere thanks, and ever believe us that, wherever your lot, under the Providence of God, may be cast, our earnest prayer will be that you may be prosperous and happy here and hereafter; and in this prayer we beg also to include your wife and children, who have accompanied us in our voyage, - a voyage which has been not only prosperous (in the usual acceptation of the term), but as regards an entire exemption from disasters or accidents of any kind, one peculiarly, and perhaps unprecedentedly so. For this, under God, we sensibly feel we have to thank you, and beg your acceptance of such our thanks.

We now, in conclusion, Sir, bid you most affectionately,Farewell.

H. D. Morpeth } Chas. A. Hasaard
Robt. Haszard }Owners Wm. J. Morpeth
A. H. Boswell, M.D. W. P. Haszard
Henry Smith sen. Neil McLean
Geo. W. Owen John Walsh
John Smith D. B. Stewart

On board the brig Prince Edward, off Auckland, New Zealand. May, 1859.


The brig Prince Edward, bound from Newcastle to Timaru with coal, foundered during a gale on the morning of 30th July at a distance of seventy miles south-west of West Cape.

The master (Captain Pallant) and crew numbering nine and one passenger, arrived at Bluff in the long boat on August 2nd.

The vessel was of 194 tons register and belonged to Messrs Pigott Brothers of Melbourne. She was built at Prince Edward Island in 1858.


See the following letters from Angus Stewart in our Letter Database:

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